Pendragon motor dealership makes progress
PENDRAGON, the Notts-based motor dealership, said it was making headway with sales, boosted by its online operation.
Chief executive Trevor Finn said the group, whose brands include Stratstone and Evans Halshaw, had performed strongly in a recovering vehicle market.
"Having strong brands and online presence is key to success in the retail market," he said.
Revenues were up 5 per cent from £3.46 billion to £3.63 billion in the 12 months to the end of December.
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Underlying profits before tax improved by 18 per cent from £30.8 million to £36.4 million.
The underlying operating margin fell from 2.2 per cent to 2 per cent, while net debt was down 12 per cent at £216 million.
Mr Finn said visitors to the group's websites were up 87 per cent over three years, with ten million visits last year alone.
He said: "The continued investment in our online strategy has established a strong platform for the business. The group is encouraged by the improvement in the used and new vehicle departments and remains on track with its debt reduction targets.
"The group had a strong second half in 2012 and is well positioned for 2013."
Mr Finn said the sale of used vehicles rose by 7 per cent at £1.39 billion and new vehicles by 11 per cent at £1.65 billion.
Over three years, the group increased like-for-like performance of used-vehicle volume by nearly 40 per cent, which Mr Finn said reflected the success of its online strategy, national footprint and value pricing.
"In 2012, the group's like-for-like used volume increased by a further 6.5 per cent," he said.
Sales of new vehicles were up by 15 per cent and overall, including commercial vehicles, by 12 per cent.
Pendragon said it was more focused on the retail sector than fleet.
Mr Finn added: "We expect that the group will continue to gain market share in the used sector and maintain used margin in 2013.
"We are encouraged by the growth in the new vehicle sector in both volume and prestige markets and expect further growth in 2013. The continued growth in vehicles up to three years old should be beneficial to the group's after-sales sector in the next three years."
Pendragon proposes a final dividend of 0.1p per share and expects to maintain a progressive dividend policy.